Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

What is the Three Minute Thesis (3MT)?

Your graduate research. 3 minutes. 1 slide.

Every March and April, the University of Toronto hosts the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®), a competition in which graduate students present their work to a generalist audience in 3 minutes using only one static slide.

Congratulations to Our 2023 3MT Winners and Finalists!

Watch / Listen to the 2023 3MT Winners

First place: Emily Majaesic, Department of Chemistry, “Catch a Protein by Its Tail
Second place: Nidhi Sachdeva, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, “small bites = BIG GAINS! Breaking Massed Learning Habits Through Microlearning
Third place: Amel Sassi, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, “Miniature Bones, Big Discoveries
People’s choice: Nandita Menon, Faculty of Dentistry, “Spittin’ Truth: Saliva Indicating Overall Health

3MT in the News

2023 U of T 3MT winner Emily Majaesic wins first place at the Ontario Regional competition

Emily Majaesic with SGS Dean Joshua Barker at the Ontario Regional final held at Queen’s University

2023 3MT Competition Schedule

RoundDateRegister to Watch
U of T Preliminary Heats 1-8March 6–9, 2023, 3–5 PM ET
March 13–16, 2023, 3–5 PM ET
U of T Semi-Finals March 28–30, 2023, 3–5 PM ET
U of T FinalsApril 13, 2023, 6–8 PM ET
Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) CompetitionApril 28, 2023
Ontario 3MT RegionalsMay 17, 2023
National 3MT ShowcaseTBA
Council of Graduate Studies ShowcaseTBA

Why You Should Participate in the 3MT

Improve your oral presentation skills, profile your research, and learn about our community’s cutting-edge ideas.

  • Present your 3MT to generalist audiences at the University of Toronto.
  • Winning the University of Toronto 3MT finals will allow you to compete at the provincial level.
  • You can even advance to showcase your research at the national level and international level.

Outside of the opportunity to improve your communication skills and showcase your research, 3MT is eligible for the MyGPD program and winning the 3MT also comes with monetary prizes.

Ready to Apply?

Eligibility, Rules, and Judging Criteria

  • Students must be registered in a doctoral program or a Master’s program with a thesis or major research project at the time of the 3MT competition.
  • 3MT® presentations must represent the primary research the student has conducted in their graduate program.
  • 3MT® presentations must represent the primary research the student has conducted in their graduate program.
  • Competitors must present online (for 2022) and agree to be video-recorded and photographed. They must also allow those video-recordings and photographs to be made public.
  • The winner of the University of Toronto competition must be available to attend the provincial finals.

  • A single, static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations, or “movement” of any description are allowed), and the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration and remain in view for the duration of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken in standard oratory prose (i.e., no poems, raps or songs, other than those that may be the target of research).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Competitors will be allowed a mic check prior to officially beginning their presentation.
  • After a successful mic check, the presentation is considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.

Presentations will be assessed according to the criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted.

  • Did the presenter use language and terminology that was clear and understandable?
  • Was the pace of the talk effective?
  • Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (i.e., eye contact, voice modulation, body language, etc.) effectively?
  • Did the slide enhance, rather than detract from, the talk — was it clear, legible, and concise?
  • Did the talk help you to understand the research being undertaken and its potential impact?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and purpose of their research?
  • Did the presenter clearly indicate what is fascinating or compelling about their research?
  • Did the talk follow a logical sequence?
  • Was the talk engaging?
  • Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention?

How 3MT Works

Competitors progress from the preliminary heats to the semi-finals and then to the finals. The judges will award first, second, and third place, while the audience’s favourite presentation is awarded the people’s choice.

Competition Levels at a Glance

  1. University of Toronto level
    • This 3MT competition is hosted by the School of Graduate Studies. Competitors begin in the preliminary heats and may advance to the semi-finals and finals.
  2. Ontario 3MT Showcase
    • The winner of the University of Toronto 3MT competes at the Ontario provincial competition, hosted by a different Ontario university each year.
  3. National 3MT Showcase
    • The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) hosts the top finalists from each of the provincial competitions (Western, Ontario, Eastern) to compete in an online format. The video recordings of the finalists’ presentations are played and judged.
  4. Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) Competition
    • The winner of the University of Toronto 3MT competes internationally. The NAGS competition brings together the 3MT winners of universities across the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, and the American states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. Competitors present live in front of a panel of judges.
  5. Council of Graduate Studies Showcase
    • The Council of Graduate Studies hosts a North America-wide 3MT showcase with the winners from the southern, western, midwestern, and northeastern regions presenting their 3MT orations and participating in a roundtable discussion. The audience is then given a chance to confer a People’s Choice Award.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have additional questions? Contact us at

Many professional and course-based degree programs, though they do not have formal thesis requirements, give students the option to conduct their own research with many of the same expectations as a thesis, including that the student design and conduct their own research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Departments usually have a specific course code to designate such projects. For example, LIN2100Y at the Department of Linguistics or MUS1990H at Faculty of Music.

We will send you your heat date and a link to submit your slide. But you are encouraged to begin working on your slide and practicing your presentation before then. 

Yes! We encourage you to make changes and incorporate judges’ feedback as you advance through the stages of the competition.

Yes, all graduate students may participate in the preliminary heats subject to meeting the eligibility requirements.

Training and Resources